Anthony Joshua insists he’s ‘solid as a rock’ and tired of questions about his slim physique for Usyk clash

Anthony Joshua insists he’s ‘solid as a rock’ and tired of questions about his slim physique for Usyk clash

ANTHONY JOSHUA is tired of questions about his slimline figure and ready to bulldoze his diet-obsessed doubters.

When Andy Ruiz Jr stunned AJ in June 2019 critics blamed his hulking muscles, saying he was more into pumping iron than throwing punches.

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Anthony Joshua is tired of questions about his physique for Saturday’s showdown with Oleksandr Usyk[/caption]

The heavyweight champ is expected to enter the ring around 17 stone

Having slimmed down to dominate the Mexican over 12 cautious rounds six months later, he had apparently surrendered all his punch power.

Ahead of Saturday’s WBA, WBO and IBF defence against dangerous southpaw Oleksandr Usyk, 34, his physique is again being focused on.

But anyone too worried about the size of his chest, biceps or inner thigh are in for a jab of sarcasm.

Joshua, 31, snapped: “I’m going to come in light. Run around the ring, try not to get hit.

“I’ll be on my bike all night. I don’t want to get out of 140 heartbeats per minute, so I’m really skinny.”

The champ is set to bounce into the ring at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium around 17st.

And in a more serious tone, he added: “Listen, I’m as solid as a rock. I’m strong, I’m good at the weight. I don’t really focus on my weight. It’s just training. I just put in the work.


“These are different opponents and I’ve learnt about training for specific opponents. These guys go longer rounds.

“When you’re knocking out guys in three or four rounds, it’s different. I studied boxing and what works for me and weight is not a priority.”

Usyk won Olympic heavyweight gold at London 2012, on the same weekend that AJ triumphed in the super-heavy ranks. The leftie went on to become undisputed champion of the 14st 4lb cruiserweight division and now wants a crack at immortality by stepping up massively in class.

But AJ — unable to secure unification bouts with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury — just sees another boxing chancer trying to boost his profile and bank balance with a fight against the golden goose.

He said: “I just fight these guys, no problem. They get a lot out of it as well. They come into our world — everything we’ve tried to build, they benefit massively from it.

“It’s annoying because all these opponents come for a week or two, speak a good game, generate big social media following, generate prizefighting money then disappear.

“With boxing, we’re just in a different place now. But what can I do about it except continue fighting?

“That’s all I can do, play my part in this business.”

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Joshua produced fireworks last time he boxed a Ukrainian.

Against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in 2017 he had to climb off the canvas and survive a huge scare before stopping the ring legend.

But the crazy competitor in AJ fancies another tear-up for the ages.

He added: “For me it was just a good time, a good fight. Will we top that? Maybe. Let’s see if Usyk wants to go down that route.

“Let’s see if he can put me in some adversity and if I can put him in some adversity.

“As you saw with the Ruiz fight, even though it was a tough night I just kept getting up.

“I’ll always get up on my feet and try to fight. I’ll always give you entertaining nights.”

Klitschko, now 45, was a mentor to AJ before that magnificent clash and has remained one.

But asked how Klitschko has been about him fighting a fellow Ukrainian, Joshua said: “He’s actually been very quiet in this build-up.

“I spoke to him at the start and he said, ‘I’m not taking sides’.

“‘Good luck’ — that’s all he said. That’s all I’ve heard from him.”

Fight fans are entitled to fear that we will never see Joshua face Fury, 33, or Wilder, 35, but they can hope he might hang around for the next generation of giants.

Asked about retirement, he said: “You’ve got 36 to 40. How many years do you go beyond that?

“Do you do the full lot to 40? That’s where Floyd Mayweather went, Alexander Povetkin, Klitschko, guys in my generation. Manny Pacquiao went a bit further.

“Forty seems like the age where they’re like, ‘OK, you’ve done a long time.’ So 36 to 40 is when I start making decisions.

“I’m 32 in October so I’ve still got some good years ahead.”